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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant
At Eastercon in Liverpool a few years back I heard this man say that a happy ending was one when the main character could walk away - more or less still alive. Jon Courtenay Grimwood's like Michael Marshall Smith in that. Life's a mess for his heroes and then things get *really* bad.
When redRobe starts Axl is bored and unhappy. Things go down hill for Axl from...
Published on 9 Feb 2001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying to be Gibson so much it hurts....
Ideas abound in this rapid paced, Cyberpunk, amphetamine-laced yarn- but the originality, which is clearly present in Grimwood's complex imagination, falls foul to an overiding urge to re-write completely in the style of Gibson, to the point when phrases and brand names are directly ripped off from the Godfaher of cyberpunk. The novel has the impression of being...
Published on 10 Jun 2000 by keeks7@hotmail.com


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant, 9 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
At Eastercon in Liverpool a few years back I heard this man say that a happy ending was one when the main character could walk away - more or less still alive. Jon Courtenay Grimwood's like Michael Marshall Smith in that. Life's a mess for his heroes and then things get *really* bad.
When redRobe starts Axl is bored and unhappy. Things go down hill for Axl from there. With in a couple of chapters he's just glad to be alive and then the rest of the book is spent with Axl dodging a growing number of enemies. There's a talking gun, a Buddhist prayer wheel in space and a vampire Cardinal, lots of political jokes and some very weird science.
People either love or hate Jon Grimwood's work. I'm definitely one of the former, but there is no doubt that this one is far and away the best of Grimwood's novels. Redrobe is fast, very funny and slyly thoughtful. Qualities that are too often absent in most SF.
It's also on the short list for this year's BSFA award and I think it stands a good chance of winning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing..., 6 Sep 2000
By 
D. Middleton-franks (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
But look - let's not try too hard to classify Jon's books, eh? Just for a moment forget the term "cyberpunk", ignore all those tedious Gibson and Tarantino comparisons, just get into what he's writing about.
redRobe is a colossal pisstake of a powerplay between huge media corporates and the church - which impacts on some wonderfully bizarre and corrupt characters.
Judging by other reviews, the talking gun already appears to be a star in its own right, and Axl Borja as the bleak, broken, ex-assasin "hero" deserves to reappear in a future novel.
redRobe works on three levels: Firstly, it's fun - almost slapstick - in the way the protagonists kill, maim, and slice their way through the plot. There's also a constant humour, albeit dark and venous, that keeps a (virtual) grin on your face throughout.
Secondly, Jon manages that neat trick of making his futures believable - almost inevitable. It's not enough just to dazzle readers with lots of clever techie ideas; for a book to grab you by the balls the author has to make the plot work independently of all the gizmos and gadgets. With a minor nip and tuck, the plot could be transposed to today's date and STILL be as engrossing. But, as the other reviews mention, Jon is absolutely awesome with his technological invention. Really impressive stuff.
Thirdly, after you've finished it, you'll find great big chunks of philosophy oozing around in your head. For example: we're all losing our geography right now, as national boundaries are being blurred by the net and assorted media. Speed that process up and you'll end up with armies that belong to the highest payer rather than some arbitrary piece of land. Can you see the Microsoft Marines yet, parking their tanks on your front lawn? The Sony SAS? Or even the Amazon Army (Literary Battalion)?
Then the armies of the church and banks aren't such a long way away. See what I mean about Jon's futures becoming almost inevitable?
Alternatively, heard of Bluetooth? That protocol which is going to let your fridge restock itself over the net, or let your VCR decide for itself to tape something you're interested in? Suddenly, a gun with AI isn't such a leap of faith after all....
Finally - yeah, you have to concentrate a bit on the loops and rolls of the plot, but surely that's a good thing. And this particular jaded and much-read reviewer actually laughed out loud at the twist that appears as the very last line...
Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction for adults: fascinatingly intelligent, 24 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
Grimwood keeps getting better. In redRobe, he has finally achieved the careful meshing of plot, character and context to create fiction that reverberates in the mind, long after it has been read. But sometimes I wonder if I and the reviewers have been reading the same book. Where Jon Courtenay Grimwood is concerned, this feeling is recurrent. Grimwood's books are tech heavy, but they are not cyber punk (cyberspace does not seem to exist in his alternate universe). They contain violence, but they are not gratuitous: characters act as they must or as they are taught, rarely out of sadistic delight. Grimwood's books are subtle but searing critiques of state violence, so it is ironic that it is the violence of individuals which attracts most reviewers' attention. While Grimwood directs our gaze to the perversion of human mercy in contemporary refugee policies, the day to day violence of ill-health and vulnerability visited upon the poor, reviewers focus on the violent acts of the maddened, the oppressed and the revolutionary ignoring the internal strength and gentleness which many of these characters display.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars redRobe - best new SF in originality and style, 13 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
Visual, gritty, fast-moving. Street-wise characters with stylish cynical toughness, reminiscent of the gutsy narrative style of 1950s LA Private Eye fiction, and with more interesting character back-stories than Gibson, Stephenson, Sterling. Even chapter titles so cool and contemporary, you could name a dozen bands from them - let alone future SF movies (Are you listening CGI studios? - Contact Grimwood NOW.) Though-provoking future technology sketched in with enough detail to feel really do-able. Nano-tech medical kits, AI weapons and surveillance, gyro-balanced military dirt-bike transport. Global politics and realpolitik (realeconomik) machinations that match and in many ways are better realized than in Grimwood's previous novel reMix. Great realisation of UN-style PaxForce grunts and their gross but real behaviour that reminds me of the best of the drugs'n'rock'n'roll reportage/narrative of the Vietnam War. (and the text come with it's own interior music - read the soundtrack, it's good.) Summary? Best new cyberpunk-style contemporary fiction I've read this year. Think you've seen and read them all - and yawned? This is C-Punk for grownups. Buy it. Read it. Think about it. Enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying to be Gibson so much it hurts...., 10 Jun 2000
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
Ideas abound in this rapid paced, Cyberpunk, amphetamine-laced yarn- but the originality, which is clearly present in Grimwood's complex imagination, falls foul to an overiding urge to re-write completely in the style of Gibson, to the point when phrases and brand names are directly ripped off from the Godfaher of cyberpunk. The novel has the impression of being written at the breakneck pace it is intended to be read at, resulting in sloppy cuts between scenes that leave the reader bemused. The text is also littered with typos and grammatical mistakes that, although probably the fault of an incompetent proof reader, enforce the impression that this book is an assembly line product, rather than a carefully constructed piece of sci-fi. Grimwood certainly has a brilliant imagination, and the depiction of the human entity as a biological 'machine' is, in some places, extremely thought-provoking, but he needs to set his ideas in a framework that is truly his own, rather than a re-hash of past classics.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Over the top Cyberpunk, 29 Jan 2006
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
There’s a website I visit now and again which generates surreal plot situations for people with writer's block.
’A gay cardinal, a one-eyed assassin and a sentient Buddhist gun hunt for the memories of a dead lesbian Pope inside a giant space-egg’ might well have come up.
This is a competent (if frustrating) cyberpunk thriller in which Axl Borja, augmented assassin, is hired by a Cardinal to find the downloaded memories of the late Pope Joan, who apparently siphoned off a large chunk of the Vatican’s wealth to give to charity.
The rather grim - but enlivened by snappy dialogue - chase ends up on Samsara, a Ringworld style rotating rock cylinder, home of the governing Buddhist AI, Tsongkhapa, and refugees from various wars and belligerence on earth.
There’s also pimps, clones, suicidal priests (2), lesbian army officers (2), an underage Japanese prostitute and sundry AIs.
The most interesting character is the self-aware gun, transformed on Samsara into the cyber embodiment of the winged monkey Rinpoche
It’s one of those irritating and annoying novels, so packed with references to corporations, wetware tradenames, hardware functions and software, that whole pages have to be re-read in case one misses something.
For those who like sort of thing, it’s a good book, if a little depressing, which makes some valuable points about religious and media political power.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and imaginative grasp of Genetic future, 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
This book is the single most original, entertaining and thought-provoking SCI-FI/Fantasy thriller I've read in years.
Combining a unique style of writing with an imaginative view of our futures Jon Courtenay Grimwood makes this book one that just has to be read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely First Class, 26 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
The kind of science fiction you're proud to be seen reading - the future imagined in rich and glorious detail, the wild people, human or otherwise, alive or not, who populate it, and an intelligent, entertaining plot that will take you for the kind of ride you seldom had before.
On the other hand, if you're fond of idiot-level plots, cookie-cutter characters and the same-old same-old brand of cliche sf, then this is not for you. This is for readers who like their energy high and their ideas fresh.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poor miss-match of other author's ideas., 13 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
Sorry, but I found this book to be a confusing mix of Iain Banks, Michael Marshall Smith, Peter F Hamilton and William Gibson. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, they all seemed to lack depth and there were far too many unanswered questions in the plot. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't up to the standard of the other authors mentioned above.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, Intelligent, Imaginative, 16 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Redrobe (Earthlight) (Paperback)
This is the type of book that will remind you that science fiction really is the literature of imagination, and that literature is really fine entertainment. This book will definitely take you Somewhere Else, and show you a thing or two that you hadn't thought of...but that might well come to pass. Strong, uninhibited, and challenging.
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Redrobe (Earthlight)
Redrobe (Earthlight) by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Paperback - 6 Mar 2000)
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